How to Identify a False Prophet
It is very difficult to “identify a false prophet.” Simply put, for most people, if you are different from me, you are a false prophet. This is simply unacceptable. We need criteria by which to judge what is false and what is true, and we cannot use anything except Scripture itself. If I could emphasize anything here, it is that we must use Scripture correctly exegeted (interpreted, explained, and understood).
In my book on False Prophets, I identify three methods or forms that we can use to identify a false prophet, and I will repeat them here (these posts were basically taken from my book in Spanish on the matter).
We can say that such and such doctrine is the true doctrine, and anything else is false. Actually, that would be the fundamentals of the faith. In part that is true. But unfortunately as evidenced today by so many examples, many false prophets have adopted these “fundamentals” or these core doctrines as their own, but they are still false prophets. The problem comes in they refute the Bible axiom that sound doctrine produces correct conduct. They have sound doctrine but don’t believe in it because their life is still filled with sin, and sin which contaminates whole churches because they are leaders.
The issue is that people lie. Unfortunately, ministers lie. And when a good pastor tells you the truth, or when a liar pastor tells you something that likewise looks like the truth, it is hard to discern.
How to Figure out when you got a Wolf by the Tail
It is unfortunate that there are bad churches with bad pastors and preachers in them. But God has his purpose in allowing even these things to happen to his people. God’s purpose is to make clear those Christians who are faithful to Jesus versus those who only give lip service to him. Many Christians will follow Satan himself into the pit of hell. They don’t care as long as it looks good to them at the moment.
But if a normal Christian, a new believer, is really wanting to follow his Savior, how does he do it? The problem is that if he knows doctrine really well, then he can discern the good pastor from the hireling and the wolf in sheep clothes. But most new believers and Christians who are not experienced do not know their Bible well. So if we by-pass doctrine for a moment (and we understand we are doing this until the individual believer KNOWS his Bible well, that all. This is a secondary way to discern a wolf in sheep’s clothing.) then we can look at the trail of disaster the wolf leaves behind him. By his effect on the sheep, by his methodology of working, the wolf is clearly seen and identified.
Purpose of these studies
These studies are basically for God’s people that are having problems with their church and/or pastor. These are Bible expositions so that we can understand clearly what is going on, and identify and get away from a false prophet, even if he tries to identify himself as a really good man of God.
For an overview of this, see
False Prophets and Teachers Overview
We can discern a false prophet by:
- His fruit – What he does or produces by his life and ministry.
- His methods – How he does what he does.
- His Character – What he is, or what is in his heart (as seen by the outworking of his life).
Finally, we will look at our defense against false prophets.
The rest of these posts (beginning with “FP:”) will explore many characteristics of the false prophet.
Please, please do not give up hope. This is the objective of Satan in throwing these firebrands at the church to destroy it. God’s men are not abusive. If you are in a church with an abusive pastor or minister, then you MAY BE in a church with a false prophet. Do not be discouraged by this. Learn from it, leave and find a good church, and throw the entire weight of your life and ministry and resources behind a good church with men of God over it. This is what we need to take away from bad experiences.
The church is not broken. The men of God are not broken. These things work, and they work very well. The entire genius of God’s eternal wisdom is put behind God’s creation of the church. He did it right the first time, and there is no need to change anything or “fix” anything broken with the church or preachers. The only thing we need to do is to study and heed what God has done, understand it, and obey what God has told us.
If we would have taken the time to study and truly verify the spirituality, yea, even the salvation of our preachers and pastors BEFORE they entered into their offices, we would not have these problems today. Man is lazy, so the layman’s laziness caused these men to get into church office. Do not throw off all the responsibility on “the pastor”. When churches lose their pastor, and they are in the process of selecting a new pastor, or when a Christian move into a new area and is looking for a church home, these are layman problems that nobody wants. They take the first thing that “looks okay,” and then they think they can put up with things if a few things are out of order. They don’t go to Scriptures and insist on their church and pastor being biblical.
Here enters your faith. If you insist with God that the pastor and church where you are going to attend is biblical, not perfect in every sense, but a group and individuals highly following God’s Word, and you do not give up the faith that God can provide you that, then you will be rewarded. Settling for trash usually ends poorly for anybody who does so. Just look at man’s poor statistics with marrying each other, and you will see this born out.
More Posts on False Prophets
- What is Prophecy?
- What do false prophets want?
- The Fruit of a False Prophet Part 2
- Pastoral Covetousness OT
- Pastoral Covetousness NT
- Ministerial Requirement Not Covetous
- Good Shepherd Sacrifices
- Fruit of a False Prophet and the Bible
- FP: Using Scripture or Following Scripture?
- FP: The Fruit of a False Prophet Obedience part 3
- FP: The Burden to Confront Sin
- FP: The Bad Fruit of a False Prophet part 2b
- FP: The Bad Fruit of a False Prophet part 2
- FP: Overview of the False Prophet
- FP: More Characteristics of False Prophets
Posts that mention false Prophets in them
More Posts on Spiritual Abuse and Cults
- Wiersbe, W. – Be Free: Galatians
- VanVonderen-Ryan – Soul Repair
- The difference between Abuse and Mistakes
- Spiritual Abuse and Why Are Toxic Leaders Allowed to Remain in Power So Long?
- Signs of Abusive leadership #2
- Signs of Abusive leadership #1
- Recovering from Churches that abuse Exiting #4
- Mark of a Cult: Deception
- Identifying Cults Leadership
- How to tell if you are in cult #7
- How to tell if you are in cult #6
- How to tell if you are in cult #5
- How to tell if you are in cult #4
- How to tell if you are in cult #3
- How to tell if you are in cult #2